Vietnam gov't confirms overspending, breaching legislators' limit

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Vietnam's budget deficit reached 6.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2013, exceeding the 5.3 percent cap set by the National Assembly that year, new government data showed.
The deficit amounted to more than VND236.76 trillion (US$10.86 billion), Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung reported to the legislative body on Wednesday.
He blamed the government's excessive expenditure on its increased disbursement for development projects, mainly in the sectors of transport, agriculture and forestry.
Value-added tax refunds also went up, Dung said.
In late 2012, legislators originally set the budget deficit cap at 4.8 percent of GDP for 2013, but later agreed to increase it to 5.3 percent as proposed by the government.
In a comment on the finance minister's report, Phung Quoc Hien, chairman of the assembly's finance and budget committee, said: "This showed that the government failed to follow financial discipline seriously," he said. 
However, Hien still called on lawmakers to allow the government to approve the figures so it can enter them into balance sheets.
At the end of 2013, Vietnam's government debt was 42.6 percent of GDP, while public debt which also includes loans guaranteed by the government was 54.5 percent, according to the finance ministry's report.
Vietnam's external debt, meanwhile, was 37.3 percent of GDP, it said, adding that all these ratios were well within limits approved by the National Assembly.

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